Qoheleth and its pessimistic theology. Hermeneutical struggles in Wisdom Literature

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This study examines the possibility that Qoheleth's main canonical function may be to grant integrity and comfort to sensitive and thoughtful believers who see the harsh reality of life and God's apparent indifference to it. It also struggles with issues in hermeneutics with regard to the problematics between exegesis and theology which Qoheleth acutely presents in the canon and for theology. The introduction deals with some introductory matters in Qoheleth studies (death and emotional effects in Qoheleth, scepticism/pessimism and form criticism of the book), followed by a new English translation. Part I employs historical criticism in the exegesis of Qoheleth. Part II looks at alternative theological and literary views to wisdom and Qoheleth.


"This book presents a brilliant challenge to Bible students to face the fact that Ecclesiastes is permeated with pessimism. (Of interest, too, is Anderson's argumentation that Ecclesiastes, contrary to the views of so many scholars today, could not have been written in the postexilic era. Instead, he suggests the date of writing was in Israel's preexilic days). . . . this work clearly faces the pessimism of Ecclesiastes with intellectual integrity." - Bibliotheca Sacra

"Anderson's study challenges several trends in modern scholarship regarding the book of Ecclesiastes or Qoheleth. The introduction of the work rejects the widely held view that Qoheleth must have been written in the Persian or Hellenistic periods. . . . Anderson has produced a work that interacts with modern scholarship without following it in an unquestioning manner. . . . it provides a valuable balance to current trends in the field of Qoheleth studies and leaves the reader asking questions about the work and its interpretation." - Richard S. Hess

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